Todd Pratum 
Member since Feb 16, 2013

Longtime dealer in books old & rare, 33 years in the Bay Area.

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Latest Review

Re: “Owl & Company Bookshop

The phone number is wrong, it is 510.788.5821. Also, it is NOT a "little" shop but the largest by space and titles on the Avenue and one of the largest used bookshops in the EAST BAY, COVERING ALL SUBJECTS. Also the web page is down now but will be back up soon.

You can see a short video of the shop at:

Posted by Todd Pratum on 02/16/2013 at 3:36 PM

Recent Comments

Re: “Federal Judge Rules Against Oakland, Allows Coal Terminal Lawsuit to Proceed

So what exactly did they say they were shipping? Or did Oakland even ask? That would have been something the author here should have investigated, o/w a good article, thank you.

Posted by Todd Pratum on 04/22/2017 at 5:57 PM

Re: “Why Is There a Housing Crisis?

I wonder if Prof Walker has read Henry George's Progress & Poverty? One of the most praised and glorified American books ever written. It solves simply many of the issues Walker examines. And the history of how this book revolutionized the world but then was marginalized by ivory tower elites also helps explain why housing is such a problem.

Posted by Todd Pratum on 03/30/2016 at 1:55 PM

Re: “Zoo Gone Wild

Of all the stupidities and atrocities I've read in the EBX recently this one takes the cake. Any idiot knows that virgin wild land in our beautiful state is almost gone. Everywhere man in his arrogance has made his mark even in remote deserts and forests. Here we have a bit of land, not even virgin but as good as it gets (and it will get better over time if we leave it alone) and people after money (oh, and for "education") want to develop it, argh. Please, I've watched my beloved home state used and abused for 60 years now, when will it end?

33 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Todd Pratum on 09/08/2014 at 2:53 PM

Re: “Alameda County Trashes Library Books

I find it remarkable that so many people here are defending the act of throwing books in the trash. As a bookstore owner for 33 years I can tell you that there is a reader for almost any book, especially if it is free. These librarians are just too lazy to find an easy way to distribute them for free. Old computer manuals, back dated magazines, yesterdays novels, books in bad condition, all these books will be scooped up if offered for free. How do I know this? Because everyday we fill our free box with "trash" like this. In fact I have given away entire houses full of books with a simple phone call. Yes, of course libraries need to clean house, and no, they are not a repository for every book ever printed (except for national libraries) but to throw them in the trash is emblematic of the kind of short sighted "vision" of our librarians, and it is this kind of behavior that has garnered the wrath of scholars and archivists the world over. And hat's off to all the over worked and under paid librarians who cringe at the very thought of throwing books in the trash, and will do anything they can to rescue them and find a place for them.

26 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Todd Pratum on 03/13/2014 at 6:56 PM

Re: “Alameda County Trashes Library Books

Many years ago the SF PL moved into their new building and because it was not big enough for all their books (hello?) they threw away (in dumpsters) 300,000 volumes (by their own admission). The practice was to fill the dumpsters each night when nobody was looking but some scavenger people discovered this and started to bring those books to my used bookstore on Valencia Street. Many many fine books were obtained this way including the rare first edition of August Strindberg's first work of fiction, and many impoverished people made a few dollars. But then the librarians caught the street people "stealing" the books out of the dumpsters. What did these book loving librarians do when they discovered the dumpster divers? They padlocked the dumpsters. The whole thing became a huge media event and was eventually brilliantly reported on in The New Yorker. People don't realize that many if not most librarians are not bibliophiles, and like teachers who hate kids, often loath their jobs, (for an interesting psychological analysis of this phenomena read Lloyd Demause), and do things like blow up old oak card files with TNT and shotguns when catalogs got digitized. There have been written many exposures, one of the best is "Double Fold" by Nicholson Baker.

20 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Todd Pratum on 03/13/2014 at 2:16 PM

Re: “Reality Check: Violent Crime Is Down in Oakland

Previously I posted on the dysfunctional 911 system inhibiting crime reporting. Just a few days ago I listened to an NPR program concerning an expose of the NYPD's intentional under-reporting of crime in an effort to boost their public image.

I couldn't just now find the radio show, but I did find many articles detailing this. They pressure their officers to underreport, (and maybe hobble the 911 system?) to please higher-ups. Check out this expose:

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Todd Pratum on 10/10/2013 at 12:41 AM

Re: “Reality Check: Violent Crime Is Down in Oakland

Clearly the author has never called 911 in Oakland. For years the only thing you usually get is a recording announcing that "the following tone is for TDD users" and then you hear that screaming fax like tone, this is followed by announcements in five or six languages, then the whole thing repeats. I know because after listening to a child scream and scream for half an hour this morning, and listening to a man scream at her to shut the fuck up I called 911 and got the same recording. Real Oaklanders care enough to report crime, and we know that you have to call 911 numerous times to get the right recording, which I did this morning. THAT recording is the one that sounds just like your bank or insurance company, "Your call is important to us, please stay on the line blah blah..." And only then will you finally get a dispatcher.

After reporting the crime (I was the only one who reported it according to the dispatcher) I asked her about the recording. She said they were "currently" having trouble and that the way to get through was to dial '0' when it answers. I then asked her why they didn't say that on the recording and she said she thought it did, which it does not. After getting off the phone I ruminated on her comment that they were "currently" have technical problems which is a lie as anybody knows the 911 system is a joke and has been for many years. THIS IS WHY CRIME IS "DOWN" Too bad this reporter never thought of that. And what about all the PD in America busted for minimizing crime stats? There was a long program on KQED about this just a few days ago.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Todd Pratum on 10/09/2013 at 10:22 PM

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